Current Affairs: December 2015

Current Affairs: December 2015

NATIONAL:

  • The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted a resolution to designate 5th November every year as World Tsunami Awareness Day. 
  • 1st December – World Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Day.
    Theme for year 2015 is ‘Getting to zero, End AIDS by 2030‘.
  • 3rd December: International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD)
  • Theme 2015: Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities.
  • Human Rights Day is celebrated on 10th December to commemorate the day in 1948 when the United Nations (UN) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
  • The theme chosen for the year 2015 HRD is ‘Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always’.
  • 22nd December is observed as National Mathematics Day to celebrate birth anniversary of great Indian autodidact Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.
  • In India, 24th December is being observed as National Consumer Day. On this day the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 had received the assent of the President.
  • In India, National Good Governance Day is being observed every year on 25th December on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister and Bharat Ratna recipient Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • 2014: Government relaxed norms to 100% FDI in raliways.
  • Dec 2015: Indian Railways signed 40,000 crore rupees contracts with General Electrics (GE) and Alstom to set up two locomotive plants in Bihar.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to Maharashtra Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2015 of Maharashtra government to allow women to work in factories in night shifts
  • Maharashtra is the biggest economy among the states in India, as per latest report published by credit rating agency Brickwork Ratings.
  • Union Cabinet approved introduction of Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2015, which aims for establishment of a Regional Centre for Biotechnology (RCB) in Faridabad, Haryana and provide a legal status to the Centre.
  • Union Cabinet approved proposal of setting up of 6 new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in – Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala and Karnataka.
  • Union Government is going to allow e-Postal Ballot System and Proxy voting to Overseas electors as an alternative voting option.
  • Lok Sabha passed The Bureau of Indian Standards Bill, 2015 to establish Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
    • The Bill replaces the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986 and establishes BIS as a national standard body for development of standardization and assessment and quality assurance of goods, articles, services, processes and systems.
  • Union Government has released a commemorative postage stamp to mark the Centenary year of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
    • Head Quarter: Kolkata
    • Deals with Animal taxonomy, publishes Red Data Book on Indian Animals.
  • Plants kingdom taken care by Botanical Survey of India HQ: Kolkata
    Both Come under MOEFCC – Ministry of environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • Uttar Pradesh Government launched International festival on Birds to promote state as an international bird-watching destination.
  • Himachal Pradesh became the first state India to start Rotavirus vaccination project under the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).
    • Rotavirus is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the family Reoviridae. It is the most common causative agent of moderate-to-severe diarrhoea (MSD) among infants, below 11 months age group in India. Rotavirus vaccine, help children immunize against diarrhea.
  • The Delhi Assembly has unanimously passed the Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, 2015 for establishment of statutory anti-corruption ombudsman.
  • Union Government launched Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan (Accessible India Campaign), a nationwide campaign in a bid to achieve universal accessibility to persons with disabilities.
    • Priority: Making Railway Stations, International Airports, at least 10% of government owned public transport carriers, and at-least 50% for issuing all public documents by Centre and state compatible for use by disabled persons.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has released 2 commemorative coins on Dr B R Ambedkar as part of the 125th (1891) birth anniversary year celebrations
  • Maharashtra legislature has become the first in the country to launch an online mechanism to send questions and move different motions in the House by its members.
    • The state government launched a website mls.org.in as part of Digital MLAs initiative in the winter session of state legislature in Nagpur.
  • Lok Sabha has passed The High Court and the Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2015
    • To note: Salaries etc of Judges of HC/SC decide by Parliament.
  • Parliament passed the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2015. The bill seeks to amend The Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 in order to make cheque-bounce filing of cases more convenient for check payees (person who receives the cheque).
    • Note: Cheque is negotiable instrument.
    • Other Negotiable Instruments:
    • Promissory note.
    • Bill of Exchange
  • Pune and Rajkot have become the new interim franchises in the Indian Premier League (IPL) through the reverse bidding process
  • Indian-American entrepreneur and philanthropist Frank Islam (63) has been selected for the prestigious 2015 Uttar Pradesh Ratna Award.
  • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved creation of buffer stock of pulses to deal with wide fluctuation in prices of pulses and check food inflation.
  • Union Cabinet chaired approved amendments in The National Waterways Bill, 2015.
    • Inclusion of 106 new waterways hence, total national waterways now is 111, from 5.
    • Note: As per Entry 24 of the Union List of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution, Union Government is empowered to make laws on shipping and navigation on inland waterways, which are classified as national waterways by Parliament.
  • December 2015: Tamil Naidu – Floods because of North-Eastern Monsoon.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi released On My Terms: From the Grassroots to the Corridors of Power, an autobiography of former Union Minister Sharad Pawar.
  • Union Government has imposed anti-dumping duty on import of cold-rolled flat products of stainless steel for 5 years from 7 countries. Countries included are China, South Korea, United States, South Africa, Thailand and Taiwan and the European Union.
  • Two Indian cities for first time have been designated as members of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network (UCCN).
  • Varanasi City (Uttar Pradesh): Added in the City of Music category of network. Jaipur City (Rajasthan): Added in the City of Crafts and Folk Art category of network.
  • Union Government inks MoU for establishing (Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIITs) at Ranchi, Nagpur & Pune.
  • Public-private-partnership(PPP) model.
  • India and Japan have signed historic Memorandum of Co-operation (MoC) to introduce High Speed Rail (HRS) on Mumbai Ahmedabad track.
  • Technology: Shinkansen Technology.
  • National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered ban on registration of new diesel-run vehicles in Delhi to curb the growing menace of air pollution in the capital city.
  • Legendary actor Dilip Kumar (93) has been conferred with the prestigious Padma Vibhushan.
  • The festival of Losar has begun in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir to mark the beginning of New Year
  • Union Government has appointed former Chief Justice of Patna High Court Justice L Narasimha Reddy as head judicial committee on One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme. The committee will look into implementation of OROP.
  • Rajasthan has become the first state in the country to submit smart city plans for three selected cities (Udaipur, Ajmer, Kota) to Union Government.
  • India has been placed at 130th position in the 2015 Human Development Index (HDI) among the 188 countries.
    • Life Expectancy: 68 years
    • Gross National Income (GNI)/Capita = 5497$
    • Expected years of Schooling= 11.6 years
    • Mean years of schooling = 5.4 years
    • Gender Development Index (GDI): is 0.795 in 2014.
    • Gender Inequality Index (GII): India rank at 130th position with value of 0.563.
  • The World Bank has approved a 1.5 billion dollars loan to support the Union government’s flagship cleanliness drive Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).
  • Funds shall be used to develop Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) infrastructure.
  • The Supreme Court has appointed Justice (Retd) Virendra Singh as new Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Former Delhi High Court Judge Reva Khetrapal took oath as Lokayukta of Delhi. Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung administered the oath to office at a function held at Raj Niwas.
  • The National Stock Exchange (NSE) has launched three separate indices on three corporate houses of India viz. Tata, Aditya Birla and Mahindra Group i.e Nifty Tata group Index, Nifty Aditya Birla Group Index & Nifty Mahindra Group Index.
  • Former Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur (62) has been appointed as Chief Information Commissioner (CIC).
  • Sahitya Akademi Award is conferred on writers of outstanding works in one of the twenty-four major Indian languages (22 Scheduled Languages+ English and Rajasthani). – 2015 Awards announced.
  • Uttar Pradesh government has decided to enforce the ban on the use of polythene across the state to protect the environment and public health.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has formally inaugurated the All-India conference of Directors General of Police (AICDGPs) at Dhordo in white Rann of Kutch region near Bhuj, Gujarat.
  • India’s biggest Wildlife Rescue Centre named as Gorewada Zoo and Wildlife Rescue Centre has been commissioned at Gorewada near Nagpur, Maharashtra.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee has been awarded 2015 Garwood Award for Outstanding Global Leader in Open Innovation from UC Berkeley-Haas School of Business.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off first prototype pollution free electric bus for Members of Parliament.
  • India has joined select club nations to build Liquefied natural gas (LNG) ships after state owned Cochin Shipyard has received certification in this regard.
  • Parliament has passed Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015 for trying juveniles as adults.
    • The bill allows trying of juveniles between the ages of 16 and 18 years as adults for heinous offences.
  • Senior IAS officer Pawan Kumar Agarwal has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Food Regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Head Quarter – New Delhi
  • Union Government has launched two mobile applications namely Crop Insurance and AgriMarket Mobile to benefit farmers
  • Union Government has adopted the strategy of developing integrated industrial/economic corridors across the country. Industrial Corridors:
    • Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC):
    • Chennai-Bengaluru IC
    • Mumbai-Bengaluru IC
    • Vizag-Chennai IC
    • Amritsar-Kolkata IC
  • North India’s first cable-stayed bridge named Atal Setu was inaugurated on Dunera-Basohli-Bhadharwah road in Basohali town in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • State-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has emerged as the country’s biggest company in terms of annual revenue as per an annual list of 2015 Fortune 500 companies in India.
  • Tech Mahindra has launched first of its kind ‘Tap N Pay’ contactless digital payment wallet MoboMoney for the Indian masses.
  • India’s first commercial NFC ecosystem rollout – NFC (Near Field Communication) – short-range high frequency wireless communication technology – range 10 cm.
  • Union Government brings 376 drugs under the NLEM
    • Essential medicines – drugs that satisfy the priority health care needs of the country’s population.
    • National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) under the Union Ministry of Chemical and Fertiliser decides the ceiling prices essential medicines under The Drug (Prices Control) Order 2013.
  • Senior IAS officer Amitabh Kant has been given additional charge as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog.
  • The Union Civil Aviation Ministry has given clearance for four greenfield airports in two states. Of the total four approved greenfield airports, three will be in Andhra Pradesh (Bhogapuram , Nellore, Kurnool) and one at international airport at Dholera in Gujarat.
  • Eminent Sarangi player, UstadSabri Khan – passed away.

DEFENCE:

  • 44th Navy Day was observed on 4 December 2015
  • Why 4th December – to commemorate success of the Operation Trident of 1971 India-Pakistan War where Indian Navy sank three Pakistani vessels near Pakistani port of Karachi.
  • The eighth edition of India-Russia joint naval exercise-INDRA NAVY-15 has begun in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
  • Israel has successfully tested Arrow ballistic missile Weapon System as part of Anti-missile shield. Arrow functions at exo-atmospheric level (high altitude) whereas Iron-dome functions at low altitude.
  • Pakistan has successfully test-fired nuclear-capable Shaheen-III ballistic missile.
    • Type: Surface-to-Surface
    • Medium Range (2750 Kms)
    • Warhead: Conventional
    • Few days later, Pakistan has successfully tested the nuclear-capable Shaheen-IA ballistic missile with a range of 900 km.
  • Combined Commanders Conference, an annual tri-services event chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was held on board INS Vikramaditya about 50 kms off Kochi coast. This is the first time when the conference was held outside New Delhi.
  • Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has cleared the purchase of Russian advance S-400 Trium Air Defence Missile Systems at an estimated cost of 40,000 crore rupees.
  • DRDO successfully tested crucial anti-jamming capability of the Astra missile.

SPORTS:

  • Australia has won the 2014-15 Men’s Hockey World League Final by defeating Belgium. India – 3rd.
  • India’s star golfer Anirban Lahiri has won the coveted Order of Merit crown of Asian Tour for year 2015.
  • Olympic medallist Vijay Kumar of Indian Army has won gold medal at the 59th National Shooting Championship held in New Delhi.
  • Apurvi Chandela from Rajasthan has won a Gold medal in the 59th National Shooting Championship in Delhi.
  • Chennaiyin FC has won the second edition of Indian Super League (ISL) Football tournament.
    • India’s former wicket-keeper batsman Syed Kirmani has been nominated for prestigious BCCI-instituted Col. C.K. Nayudu (India’s first test captain) Lifetime Achievement Award 2015.
  • Indian luger Shiva Keshavan has won a silver medal at the 2015 Asian Luge Championship held in Nagano, Japan.
    • Note: Luge is one of the three Olympic sliding sports. It is the fastest and most dangerous sports on ice and is part of Winter Olympic program since 1964.
  • Gujarat has won the 14th season of prestigious Vijay Hazare Cricket Trophy for season 2015–16 for first time in its history of championship.Government of India has constituted All India Council of Sports (AICS) headed by Prof V.K. Malhotra as its President in the rank of Minister of State. The salient aims & objectives of the Council are as follows:
    • Popularising sports amongst youth as a way of life;
    • increasing outreach of sports to rural and tribal areas, and areas affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE), North East and Jammu & Kashmir;
    • matters relating to promotion of inclusiveness in sports with special focus on women, differently-abled, tribals, etc.;
    • preventing drug abuse in sports, fraud of age and sexual harassment of women in sports;
    • early identification of sports talent and nurturing of the identified talent; and
    • Integration of sports in educational curriculum in schools, colleges and universities

 

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

  • India and France have launched International Solar Alliance (ISA) at the Conference of Parties (CoP21) Climate Conference in Paris, France.
    CoP22: Marrakech, Morocco -2016
  • Union Cabinet has approved an agreement with Germany to expand bilateral cooperation in the field of solar energy between both countries.
  • The World Bank has launched a $500 million dollars Transformative Carbon Asset Facility (TCAF) to help developing countries pay for emission reductions and combat climate change.
  • First India International Science Festival (IISF) was organized at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi campus.
  • The South Western Railways (SWR) Zone with headquarters in Hubli, Karnataka has introduced biodiesel for trains, operating under its zone.
  • Biodiesel is a green fuel obtained from crops such as sugarcane, cassava, corn, potato, beetroot and recently from grapes, banana and dates etc.
  • China has granted a license for production of first manned two seater electric aircraft RX1E known as RX1E by the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
  • Scientists have genetically modified malaria-causing mosquito Anopheles gambiae species to fight the deadly disease of malaria.
  • Mosquito species Anopheles gambiae are the major carrier of dangerous malaria parasites in sub-Saharan Africa region where 90 per cent of annual malaria deaths occur.
  • Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has bagged a United States military contract for research and development (R&D) on solar powered micro-grid with battery and super capacitor energy storage system.
  • Global software major Wipro has been awarded 2015 Aegis Graham Bell Award for developing a solution for the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully placed six commercial satellites from Singapore in their dedicated orbits.
  • ISRO launches other country satellite as commercial service through Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of ISRO
  • Union Government has given in principle approval to work on Loon project of Google for providing Internet connectivity by using large balloons in remote and rural areas.

 

INTERNATIONAL:

  • Roch Marc Christian Kabore elected as president of Burkina Faso
    • Burkina Faso: Land-locked country in Africa, Capital : Ouagadougou
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF) included China’s Yuan into its elite reserve currency basket mailny used as an international reserve asset with an effect from effect from 1st October 2016.
    • Chinese Yuan also known as Renminbi will be the fifth currency along with the US Dollar, British Pound, Japanese Yen and Euro.
  • Beijing, China hosted the first Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS)
  • Union Cabinet has approved signing and ratification of a protocol between India and Japan for amending the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC).
  • India and South Korea ink MoU on taxation treaty
  • Union Cabinet has approved MoU between India and Israel in the field of water resources management and development cooperation.
  • Union Cabinet approved Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation between India and United Kingdom in the energy sector.
  • Union Cabinet approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa) countries for energy conservation.
  • Australia’s Federal Parliament has passed Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill, 2015 to strip citizenship of convicted persons on terrorism charges.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced a 60 billion dollars package to African nations during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Canada has successfully sent the first consignment of 250 tonnes of uranium to India as part of bilateral civil nuclear cooperation between both countries.
  • Singapore has replaced Mauritius as the top source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into India during the first half of the current fiscal year 2015-16.
  • Iran has successfully carried out test of medium range Ghadr-110 ballistic missile near the Chabahar, a port city in southeast of country along the Gulf of Oman.
    • Note: India helping Iran in developing Chabahar Port.
  • Fifth edition of ‘Heart of Asia’ conference, an annual regional gathering of Asian and other countries held in Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • Time magazine has named German Chancellor Angela Merkel as Person of the Year 2015.
  • Global Financial Integrity’s (GFI’s) Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2004-2013 Report – revealed India has 4th largest Black money outflow.
  • Mexico Government has approved world’s first-ever Dengue fever vaccine branded as Dengvaxia for the public use.
  • Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet (NDQ) has been awarded prestigious 2015 Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony held in Oslo, Norway.
  • India-born author Salman Rushdie has been awarded the prestigious 2015 Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement.
  • Myanmar launched the country’s first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Inle Lake in Shan state.
  • COP 21 adopts historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change
    • Mandates all Countries to keep global temperature rising below 2°C by 2100 above pre-industrial levels with an ideal target of keeping temperature rise below 1.5°C.
    • Developed countries to provide 100 billion dollars annually to the developing counterparts beginning in 2020 and it would increase with time.
  • Ground breaking ceremony of 1800-kilometre-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project was held at the ancient city of Mary of Turkmenistan.
  • Typhoon Melor (also known as Nona) has hit the central Philippines
  • 2015 – World Trade Organisation (WTO) Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Afghanistan has become 164th member nation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), global trade body after 11 years of negotiations.
  • The United States (US) Senate has ratified reforms in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to boost the representation of emerging economies as part of a budget bill.
    • The reforms deal with 2010 Quota Reforms and now it will go to President Barack Obama for assent.
  • The United States (US) has lifted a 40 year ban on oil exports marking a historic shift for the booming US oil industry.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved the reconstruction and completion of Salma Dam Project in Afghanistan at the Revised Cost Estimates (RCE) of 1775.69 crore rupees.
  • Salma Dam: on the upper reaches of Hari Rud River in Herat province of western Afghanistan.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new building of Afghanistan Parliament in the capital city Kabul built by India.
  • Seychelles government allowed India to build its first Naval Base on the Assumption Island in the Indian Ocean region (IOR) as a joint project between both countries.
  • China has officially abandoned its One Child Policy amid deepening demographic crisis of shrinking workforce and aging population in the world’s second largest economy.
  • India has emphasised to Iran for early completion of all necessary procedures for its participation in the Farzad-B gas field worth 5 billion US dollars.
  • World Health Organization (WHO), a UN health agency has declared Guinea Ebola-free after no new cases were reported.
  • Russia’s Rostech State Corporation has signed one billion US dollar deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to manufacture 200 Kamov 226T light helicopters. These helicopters will be manufactured under make in India initiative and shall replace the ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.
  • China has successfully launched its most sophisticated observation satellite Gaofen-4, as part of the country’s high-definition (HD) earth observation Gaofen project
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval to sign Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia.
    • MoU – also called as the ‘Raptor MoU’ under the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS).and is not legally binding on signatory parties.

 


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